GLUTEN FREE AFTERNOON TEA AND PHOTOGRAPHY WITH LE MERIDIEN HOTEL AND RIBA
I am a firm believer in the sentiment that two parts make a whole. (I mean, it’s kinda common sense right, but let’s just go with it on a philosophical level…). Brad and Angelina, Bloggers and marble backgrounds, a horse and carriage, Lamb Pasanda and Coconut rice – not quite a famous duo but a personal favourite nonetheless – but for two parts that kinda’ make me feel whole? Afternoon tea and photography.
So when I was invited along to the Le Meridien Picadilly hotel – potentially the most stunning hotel I have ever visited – for afternoon tea and to discover their “Unlock Art” partnership with RIBA (Royal institute of British architects) it was an absolute no brainer, this was the perfect event for me.
I mean, to be totally honest, they had me at Afternoon tea…
Because of the location, the fact that there was cake involved and that half of this experience was based around photography, there are a hell of a lot of pictures, so I thought we could work through this post systematically. Sound like a plan? It does, you say? Fab, let’s do it…
Starting with the hotel, the Le Meridien Piccadilly ladies and gents.
With absolutely breath taking architecture, stunning interiors/decor and views over London’s Piccadilly, Le Meridien Piccadilly is a must see. Even if its just sitting on the roof terrace with a tipple or two – or 3, go hard or go home guys… – indulging in their Sipsmith sipping garden (which isn’t there for much longer so hurry down) it’s the perfect location for some time out.
So there’s the exterior and interior of The Terrace grill and bar where the Afternoon tea took place, if that wasn’t beautiful enough, towards the end of the post we head downstairs to The Oak room lounge which is seriously, seriously special. But for now, let’s eat cake….
All of the above (ridiculously dreamy and Instagram worthy) Sandwiches, scones and cakes were part of the Riba Afternoon tea which whilst looked incredible… were full of the devil gluten so were off the menu for me. Luckily, the incredible geniuses at Le Meridien – and the wonderful Christina who organised everything for us – had a gluten free version, and guys, I mean, I just… no words do justice to just how amazing it was. So here’s some photo’s that will hopefully display that far better than my lack of vocabulary could.
As you can see, the gluten free sandwiches came in the form of “open sandwiches” which I actually thought was a fantastic idea. Gluten free bread (especially un-toasted) really struggles to stay together meaning that actually eating a sandwich can be pretty difficult/messy. The open sandwiches, which came topped with smoked salmon, egg mayonnaise, tuna and to be totally honest, I have no idea what the fourth sandwich was but it tasted incredible, were light, refreshing and so delicious. A huge thumbs up from me.
After demolishing the sandwiches and refreshing on some Assam tea – yep, I went for the breakfast tea because I’m common but the variety of tea’s were endless and so unique – I couldn’t wait any longer before diving into the scones. Now, I haven’t had the best track record with gluten free scones. Crumbly, dry and generally tasteless has been my experience thus now, however I was so chuffed – like, Tom Cruise jumping all over Oprah’s sofa kinda’ chuffed – when I cut into these scones to discover that not only did the scones not fall apart, but they were moist, full of flavour, full of raisins and just so, so tasty. With the addition of clotted cream and jam I really was in my sugar-coma’d element.
Time to move onto the cakes – and the embarrassment when everybody was getting full and I quite easily carried on demolishing every layer #trooper #thePigNextDoor – and oh my word were they something special. After taking 50 bajillion photographs of my blueberry macarons, I finally scoffed them down to discover that they were absolute perfection! Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside and an amazingly creamy filling, I genuinely didn’t want them to end. Next up was the chocolate mousse which was so rich – just how I like it – and decadent followed shortly by what I *think* was a triple chocolate type dessert. By this point I had consumed all of the sugar in the world and was slightly delirious, but I polished off the predominately white chocolate pud so I think it’s safe to say that it was good.
Once we had finished being tea’d and caked wined and dined, we were then taken on a short tour of the hotel and shown artwork from the “Unlock art” exhibition – a collection, by Riba, of black and white photo’s of some of London’s most iconic landmarks – along with a little info about each piece. For a photography nerd like myself, I loved hearing about the inspirations behind each piece and plotting my next London adventures around these stunning photo’s.
Check out more of the collection by visiting RibaPix.
And then it was time to gravitate down to The Oak Room lounge to continue our workshop/completely gawp, open mouthed, over how breath taking this perfect part of the stunning hotel is. No words – that I can write, anyway – can do justice to the chandeliers of dreams and pink and gold decorated walls that looked like something out of Downton Abbey/a Disney film, so I’ll leave you with the following photo’s…
It’s totally OK to sell my soul to be able to afford to have my wedding here right? Oh great, I thought it’d be fine 😉
So that brings me to the end of this – extremely long – but hopefully very interesting/visually pleasing (let’s be real, those Macarons though…) post. A huge, huge, huge thank you to both Le Meridien and Riba for inviting me to a truly wonderful event, for filling my stomach with the best gluten free Afternoon tea I’ve eaten and helping me to discover pieces of artwork that I now want on every wall of my house!
Also, *amazing news alert*, Le Meridien are kindly offering 20% off of the Afternoon tea to any of my lovely readers that want to go – I highly recommend – so if you’re interested, all you have to do is quote “The Elle next door” and say that you read about it on my blog 🙂
As always, thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed this post!
Wow, these photos are just beautiful! The food and architecture both look so stunning. I'm glad you had an amazing time as well, especially as it was gluten free, meaning you can enjoy it all without having to worry! xx
Sam // Samantha Betteridge
Thanks so much Sam, both were absolutely stunning!
Wow, wow and wow! This has genuinely got to be the best Afternoon tea I've ever seen! Plus, a Sipsmith sipping garden, say whaaat?! Hurries along…
Gorgeous photos, lovely! 🙂
Isn't it beautiful, I highly recommend Karen!
Sounds so yummy. Your pictures are always amazing. KBxx
Thanks so much lovely, it was truly stunning!
This looks so amazing!! I love the photos you've taken here, and the food looks so fab too! : ) xx
Jessie | allthingsbeautiful-x
Thanks so much hun, really pleased you liked them!
THOSE MACARONS THO. Looks amazing and the photography is really great!
Thanks Victoria 🙂
The blueberry macarons do look amazing – I really like the Meridien and the Oak Room blew me away when I visited
Suze | LuxuryColumnist
It's so beautiful isn't it, truly breath taking!
Absolutely stunning photography, i really enjoy reading posts with photos like these, and that food looked amazing,
Natalie Lines Blog
Thank you so much Natalie, so pleased you liked it!
awesome pics such a great blog ♥
I have a new post, could you please share with me what do you think and click on the links there
Many thanks and happy Monday.
These photographs are absolutely stunning! Can't get over how beautiful the teapots and cups are too! Really hungry now…
Thank you so much Amy, I'm so pleased you think so!
OMG I am so hungry right now watching so many awesome food photos.
All the pictures are so beautiful 🙂
Haha me too lovely, doesn't it look amazing!
Lost myself at "tead and caked," ha! These are such stunning photos, Elle, and there is no better duo than afternoon tea and photography, is there?! Afternoon Teas just photography so well! I'm craving for a macaron right now, by the way, ah!
May | THE MAYDEN
Haha so pleased you like the post lovely and love afternoon tea and photography too!
This is round the corner from my work, I walk past if often. What a lovely afternoon being 'tead and caked'. I love all these photos.
I love trench coats at the moment, I need to get my hands on one. I love hats, and I'm sure you'll look fab.
Jenn | Jennifer Jayne
It's so lovely, I'd highly recommend!
Oh wow it looks incredible, somewhere I wouldn't really fit in hahaha! Love that they did an amazing gluten free afternoon tea and the macaron looks delicious and so pretty! xxx
Haha no no not at all Jess, I felt the same way but everyone makes you feel so comfortable. It's such a non pretentious place!
GORGEOUS photography Elle! I literally had to stop myself from licking the screen – the food looks absolutely delicious 🙂 xx
Haha thanks so much beauty, looks delicious doesn't it!
Gorgeous pictures. Those macaroons look to die for!
Aren't they amazing. So glad you like the pics!
#BakingGoals with those macaroons!! Afternoon tea is definitely my favourite meal although don't tell that to Brunch…). 100% taking up the lovely offer of 20% off!
Piccadilly here we come!!
Ahh have the most amazing time lovely and definitely let me know how you get on, I think you'll love it!!
That's such a great idea with the sandwiches, sometimes it's just all about the filling and GF bread as you said can just flail sometimes! Those puddings though, let's just discuss……YUM
Britton Loves | Lifestyle Food Beauty
So amazing right? We need to grab Ally and go back and have this Lauren!
You seem to get stuck into some great events, and those pictures are perfect! It looks like a lovely hotel. Those macaroons look so tasty I really need to try one some day! x http://www.coffeeatmidnight13.blogspot.it/
I am so so lucky to do what I do, beyond grateful!
Wow, it was stunning event, I really like that it matched delicious food and photography and I totally agree with you that these dishes (especially cupcakes!) are so Instagram worthy!
Thanks so much hun, so pleased you liked it!
GORGEOUS photos Ellie! That afternoon tea looked divine xxx
Ahh thank you beauty!
All these look really delicious!!! I so want them 🙂 mmmmm!!! Gorgeous photos as well, looks like a great place to have an afternoon tea 🙂 xx
Thanks so much lovely, so pleased you liked it!
Amazing snaps, in love. Would love it if you could check out my Holiday Style Diary!
Kisses xo | From Aliona With Love
Cake? You had me at cake! It all looks so delicious. The hotel looks stunning. And the blueberry macaroons? Yes! Great post
Haha everything always gets me at cake too!
I keep telling David to go to Le Meridien for afternoon tea (since it's also part of Starwood groups of hotels) now I want to go even more after seeing your photos. It's a beautiful place & how dreamy would a wedding in that hotel be? x
Beauty with charm
Alina you must, must go here and take David with you, it's the most wonderful place!
Tea. I want ALL of the tea. I drink so much tea during the day. If I ever make it to London again I HAVE to go there!
Xx Naomi in Wonderland
Haha thanks so much lovely, you definitely need to head here when you get a chance. it's stunning!
Ah the Oak Room lounge looks like a fairytale ballroom 🙂 Your photos have made me really really hungry- they are so lovely. The artwork looks great too
Thanks so much lovely, so glad you liked them. The artwork is so fab too right? Such a fan!
Le Meridien is a nice hotel– we have here in UAE and it's pretty much nice.
Afternoon tea are the best!
The Bandwagon Chic | Instagram | Bloglovin | Snapchat: bandwagonchic
Totally with you there Zarrah!
Beautiful photos! It looks like an amazing place to go for afternoon tea and the food all looks so delicious 🙂 xx
Thanks so much lovely, also it was so lovely to meet you on saturday!
Le Meridien looks stunning I've always wanted to stay there I really love the architecture! Great photos the food looks great.
Thanks so much hun, so pleased you liked it!
What an amazing treat! You seem to had an AMAZING time! The foood! <3
Thank you lovely lady!
Hope you're having great evening right now, dear Elle 🙂
Thanks so much hun!
Beautiful photo and treats, looks like you had a wonderful time.
Thank you Rachel, it really was wonderful!
Oh that afternoon tea looks heavenly! I am so very jealous!
Musings & More
Thank you lovely, it was perfection!
Ooooh this looks so delicious!! So awesome that they did a gluten free one as well 🙂
all of that food looks so yummy! x
Those desserts looks yumm!!!
Nihaad – the little blog of STUFF
What a stunning place! And that food looks/sounds amazing!
Rubi | Instagram | The Den | http://www.the-den.blogspot.com
The PHOTOS in this post! So dreamy, what an amazing place x
Martha Jane | http://www.marthajanemusic.com